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Heroic stranger braves the cold Calgary river water to rescue missing pup

A Calgary dog owner is praising a complete stranger for braving the frigid waters of the Bow River to rescue her missing pup.

Chewie, a four-year-old chihuahua, went missing from his owner’s workplace in Bridgeland on April 20. Owner Ashley Ilinksy compiled a search party, put up missing posters daily and posted on social media.

“There were probably 50 people looking for him,” she said. “And he had almost a thousand shares on Facebook.”

But after several days of no Chewie, she feared the worst — she would never see him again.

“It was four days of just hell,” she said. “We were missing our little baby.”

Dog rescued from the Bow River.

Ilinsky then got word a witness had spotted Chewie crossing a busy Memorial Drive heading towards the river. That’s where Malia Jackson saw him. She got out of her car to get the pup before the current could get him first.

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Jackson, who lives in the Didsbury area, told Global News the current was strong and the rescue was touch-and-go, but she was just happy to be able to pull the dog out of the water.

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“I’m not a hero,” she said. “I just happened to be at the right place, at the right time.”

“A complete stranger. An out-of-town lady. Never met her. Don’t know her,” Ilinsky said. “She went into the Bow River, the freezing cold water, to save a stranger’s dog.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta woman rescues puppy from Bow River'

Alberta woman rescues puppy from Bow River

Jackson said she waited around to see if Chewie’s owners would show up but then decided to take him to an emergency vet as he was really “struggling to survive.” A few days later she was alerted about the Facebook posts advising the pup was missing and had a loving family.

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She then contacted Ilinsky to let her know Chewie was safe.

“I think I have your baby boy,” Jackson told Ilinsky.

Jackson then delivered Chewie back to Calgary and back to Ilinsky who offered her a cash reward or one of Chewie’s recent offspring.

“She wanted nothing,” Ilinsky said. “I even said I can pay for the vet bill because you brought him to the vet for me — nothing.”

“She’s a hero. She’s amazing. I believe she was sent from heaven.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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